Culture in London

February 15, 2008

Yesterday at lunchtime I went to the British Museum and went to the First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army exhibition. It was ok, but it annoyed me that they say that more than 7000 warriors have been discovered but the exhibition featured less than twenty! There were about 9 intact warriors and five horses, 2 musicians and some birds, 6 broken figures (acrobats and officials) and bunch of other stuff (bells, bowls, arrows, etc). A bit of a disappointment really. Especially as it costs £12 to go!

Last night Paul and I went to a talk at the ICA: Is it always good to talk? It was about talking therapies for depression and other mental illnesses. The speakers were Darian Leader, psychoanalyst and author of The New Black: Mourning, Melancholia and Depression and Lisa Appignanesi, writer, broadcaster and author of Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800. It was quite good. And Antony Gormley was in the audience which made me a little starstruck – I really like his art.

Books on dysfunctional families

January 18, 2008

I have just finished reading Adult Children: the Secrets of Dysfunctional Families by John and Linda Friel. I really enjoyed it and I think I learned a lot about healthy and unhealthy ways of relating.

They talk a lot about co-dependency and addictions (as therapists, they have treated a lot of people with addictions), and they explain a lot of different types of abuse and how this teaches us bad ways of relating and affects our development and leads to co-dependency and addiction.

From the book:

Co-dependency is a dysfunctional pattern of living which emerges from our family of origin as well as our culture, producing arrested identity development, and resulting in an over-reaction to things outside of us and an under-reaction to things inside of us. Left untreated, it can deteriorate into an addiction.

Because they are focusing on ‘family-of-origin’ work they look at how people take what they learnt from their parents and replicate it in their relationships with their children. I also have their follow-up book The Adult Child’s Guide to What’s Normal. I’m looking forward to reading it too.
I also recently bought and read They Fuck You Up: How To Survive Family Life by Oliver James. I’m still not sure if I liked it. James believes that far too many mental illnesses seem to be blamed on genetics when there is plenty of proof around that how a child was treated in the very early stages is probably more to blame. I enjoyed the bits where he analyses various famous people and their relationships with their parents and/or their children (Prince Charles, Stephen Fry, Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, George W Bush, Jeffrey Archer). I didn’t really enjoy it when he said gay men were gay because their mother’s emasculated them and were a stronger personality than their father (page 104). I tend to agree with James that nurture probably has far more to do with mental health problems than nature but I often found his conclusions hard to agree with – I looked up the references many times to see if he cited references for various things he claimed, which he did. But just because I don’t agree with something doesn’t mean it’s not true! If there IS evidence to back it up, then maybe I need to change what I believe. But there are a lot of psychology studies (and other studies) around with dodgy conclusions or methodologies, or using very small samples. I’d love to read a response that’s examines this book by checking out all the studies in it.

Rest in peace Gordon Duguid

December 22, 2007

Paul and Gordon playing in New Farm Park
Paul’s and my friend, Gordon Duguid died last week in Tasmania.

He was hit by a truck on a highway and it sounds like he walked in front of the truck on purpose. Paul and I have been very sad since hearing this and are feeling a long way from home being over in London, far from the friends and family who remain to wonder why.

Gordon’s memorial will be in Brisbane on Monday, December 24, at 9.30am at the Centenery Memorial Gardens, 353 Wacol Station Road, Sumner Park, Brisbane. Paul created a group on Facebook called Friends of Gordon.

We miss you Gordon. And wish you’d been able to ask for help.
Paul and Gordon playing in New Farm Park
This is Paul and Gordon playing in New Farm Park (with slow shutter speeds).

Why Gordon? Why?

December 19, 2007

Why Gordon? Why?
Why couldn’t you ask for help Gordon?
Why did you forget you had people who loved you Gordon?
People who cared
People who would have dropped everything and come
If only you had asked?
Why didn’t you call them Gordon?
Those friends, or family, or acquaintances, even,
Who didn’t like to see you suffer.
Why did you feel so sad, Gordon?
Why did you feel so alone?
Why did you make that decision, Gordon?
Why did you dress in dark clothes and step in front of that truck, Gordon?

More books for therapy

April 26, 2007

I have purchased a couple more books on the advice of my therapist.
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Books recommended by my therapist

March 24, 2007

In my first session, my therapist, [who is a middle-aged, American woman – in case you care about such things] recommended I get three books:
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Quick, mid-March update

March 14, 2007

On Friday I went to see a counsellor in town. Had an hour session. It went really well and I have a really good feeling about it. Hopefully I’ll stick to it longer than I usually stick to counselling (usually about 3 sessions, my longest with one person was probably 5 or 6 sessions). My new therapist suggested a few books I should read, and also said that her clients usually tape the sessions so they can listen to them again.

Friday night Paul and I went out with people from his work. We didn’t stay out too late and got the tube home.

On Saturday morning we went to yoga at the gym and in the following days we both had very sore hamstrings. I’m planning on going to yoga again tomorrow morning.

I have started cross-stitching again and I’m really happy to be getting back into the creative swing of things.

Yesterday I received a couple of DVDs from my sister Jo with lovely messages from my two little nieces who I miss very much. It was simply gorgeous.

My sister Nicky called this morning which was also lovely. We had a good ol’ chat.

Paul is working till 9pm every night this week but tonight something came up and he was still there at 11 which is not so fun. Hopefully he will be home soon.


June 29, 2005

(this is the editorial from the paper zine)

Welcome to the second edition of Another Dental Visit, my zine about depression and mental illness. It has been a year since I finished Issue 1, and what a year it has been.
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June 28, 2005

Some people seem to skip happily through life.
But I feel so weighed down. How can I even smile?

June 27, 2005

Sometimes the negative thoughts, the cloudy mind and the heavy cloud really drive me up the wall.
Sometimes I’d just like to be left alone.